Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Corporate & business services

Recommendation 54

A new Corporate Plan to be developed with a ten year horizon linked to NSW 2021, with a clear statement of vision, purpose and aspirational objectives which have realistic stretch targets and measurable key performance indicators by May 2012.


The Trust agrees with this recommendation and has endorsed the formation of a Strategic Planning Committee that will develop a Corporate Plan with a ten year horizon and linked to NSW 2021.The Executive Director is leading this process and the Committee’s work is being facilitated using the pro bono services of a strategic planning consultant.

Recommendation 55

The Trust commission a review of the Board’s terms of reference, governance / operating manual and induction processes for new members.


The Trustees agree and note that this exercise should follow the strategic planning process, which will assess the extent that the role of the Board or governance of the Trust needs to change.

Recommendation 56

The Trust seeks the Ministers approval to review the Act and Regulations for the purposes of modernisation and benchmarking against similar parkland legislation particularly in relation to the leasing, licensing, planning, objects and penalties.

Recommendation 57

If approved, a Regulation Review Working Group be established by March 2012 reporting to the Board with representation sought from Office of Environment & Heritage Reserve and Wildlife Policy Section and Legal Services Branch and tasked with reviewing the Act, the Regulations, authorities, training and associated policy and procedures.

Recommendation 58

The Trust seeks the Ministers support for a review of the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust Act for the purposes of addressing some of the weaknesses relating to Board structure and membership.


The Trust agrees in principle with Recommendations 56 through 58 but consider that a legislative review needs to await the completion of the current strategic planning process. At this point the Trust will seek the Minister’s support of the review.

Recommendation 59

Trust seek Minister’s approval to pursue both State and National Heritage listing for all properties following initial consultation with the Heritage Branch of the Office of Environment & Heritage.

Recommendation 60

Branch operational plans to be developed annually commencing by June 2012 in a consistent uploadable format with then a direct connection to Executive Director, Director and staff work and development plans.


The Trust agrees with both Recommendations 59 and 60.

Recommendation 61

A Trust doctrine or management framework document be prepared outlining the relationship, responsibilities and milestones for the strategies, policies and plans of the Trust and identify any gaps that may require attention. The doctrine should give consideration to best practice management guidelines for protected areas.


The Trust agrees in principle with this recommendation and notes that a management framework should be an output of the current strategic planning process. Similarly, a gap analysis would feed into a legislative review if changes are required.

Recommendation 62

An external strategic review of the relationship between the Friends, the Trust and the Foundation be undertaken in a cooperative manner with consideration being given to the following possible future options:

  • Status quo with operational improvements (not supported by IPR)
  • Integration of the Friends within the Trust and the Foundation as appropriate to providing a clear separation of the functional areas of volunteerism (Marketing and Communication) and fundraising (Development/Foundation)
  • Friends staff members possibly to become employees of the Office of Environment & Heritage within the Marketing and Communications group
  • Establishment of a members program enabling Friends and others to donate, sponsor and gift to the Foundation similar in nature to that recently adopted for Friends within the Australian Museum
  • Relocation of the Friends at an appropriate location to enable adaptive reuse and revenue stream from the buildings.


The Trustees agree that a strategic review of the relationship between the Friends, Trust and Foundation is an urgent priority. As outlined above, the Trust has implemented a number of steps in this direction, including seeking accounting and legal advice to ensure that any restructuring of the relationships between or respective functions of the three bodies does not adversely affect the organisation’s total fundraising potential. In addition, preliminary discussions with the Foundation and Friends indicate that a strategic review will have their full support. The Trust will seek further assistance from organisations such as the Australian Museum and Taronga Park Zoo, which have faced similar issues.

Recommendation 63

That the Trust determines a set of high level principles to guide the allocation of staff resources and functions between the corporate centre (Sydney) and the estates.


The Trust agrees with this recommendation and expects that this will be an output of the current strategic planning process.

Recommendation 64

That consideration be given to a preferred organisational structure, including:

  • That an Executive Support team be established as a direct report to the ED, incorporating the functions of corporate planning and reporting, ministerial and secretarial services to the executive team and Board
  • That a new General Manager Horticulture and Estates position be established, reporting directly to the ED to provide estate-wide coordination, estate strategy and policy development, masterplanning and major project development and management
  • Directors of Gardens to report to the GM and continue to be responsible for all horticulture, pest, weed and fire management, asset and facilities maintenance, and on the ground event and functions management, delivery of interpretation and education programs etc.
  • Should resources be available, that a new Assistant Director position be established also responsible to the GM and responsible for managing the provision of specialised services including asset management, masterplanning, project management, estate policy, wildlife management and coordination of security arrangements
  • That new Director positions of Marketing and Communications and for Development (Fundraising) be established, reflecting an agreed Trust position and wherever possible Corporate Plan key program areas.


The Trust agrees with the aspirations within this recommendation but acknowledges that fundamental changes to the current position descriptions and responsibilities of the Directors at the three sites would be necessary. The Trust also acknowledges that the availability of funding/resources to realise these changes poses a serious constraint, and notes that any restructuring must be substantially cost neutral.

The Trust also agrees with recommendations pertaining to positions in Marketing and Communications and Fundraising, and notes that the Executive Director has implemented steps to reassign staff roles and resources in these two areas as previously described.

In addition, the Trust has considered the proposed organisational structure, as well as alternative structures developed at the Board workshop in mid-2011. The Trustees agree with the aspirations of the suggested structure and note that further consideration will be given to the detailed roles and responsibilities and make-up of departments upon conclusion of the strategic planning process.

Recommendation 65

That a workforce strategy be developed to transition to the approved structure involving consultation with the Chief Executive, the Minister’s Office; consultation with staff and unions and consultation and agreement where necessary with the Friends and the Foundation.


The Trust agrees with this recommendation and notes that this consultation is a necessary component of any restructure.